The Fraser Valley Volleyball Club’s U-14 Blues are national champions.
The group of 14 boys from Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley and Surrey travelled to Saskatoon last weekend, sweeping the field to win the coveted Volleyball Canada Canadian Open championship banner.
Day one of the competition (Thursday) saw the Blues defeat Saskatchewan’s Prince Albert Smashing Bananas in straight sets (25-7, 25-21) followed by equally impressive wins over Alberta’s Sherwood Park (25-16, 25-7) and Winnipeg’s Cardinal club (25-14, 25-21).
Abbotsford’s Keaton Boughen led the team on day one with 18 kills and three service aces.
Middle hitter Reece Frey of Surrey had 11 kills, six aces and 10 stuff blocks in perhaps his best day of the season.
Abbotsford’s Simon Friesen added 41 assists as the team’s starting setter on day one, while Chilliwack’s Mark Harrison (five kills, three aces and six digs) and Levi Block (two aces, 11 digs) were strong on defense.
Abbotsford’s Quinn Sojonky (nine kills) and Ben Friesen (three aces) also played significant roles.
Day two began with a straight-sets win over Edmonton’s NAVC Gold (25-21, 27-25) followed by victories over the Steinbach (Manitoba) Junior Sabres (25-19, 25-14) and Winnipeg’s Winman Wave (25-11, 25-10).
Middle hitter Curtis Schopf of Chilliwack set the tone for the day with a pair of thunderous middle hits in the opening match, ending the day with eight kills, five digs and three stuff blocks.
Setter Jordan Koslowsky from Abbotsford had 61 assists on day two as he led the offense to a remarkable 43.18 kill efficiency on 132 attack attempts while adding five aces.
The perfect 6-0 record after two days landed the boys in a national quarter-final battle with Winnipeg’s 204 Gold, the top-ranked team in the country.
The B.C. boys were not to be denied on this day, pounding the Manitobans in straight sets, 25-17, 25-16.
That was just the beginning on day three as the boys got stronger and stronger.
The semi-final was a route over Winnipeg’s Winman Tide by scores 25-21, 25-13.
The final was a rematch of the B.C. championship of a week previous, with the Blues again downing the Victoria Flyers 25-13, 25-22.
Abbotsford’s Jordan Loewen and Langley’s Steven Hsu led the offense all day.
Loewen had 38 kills, four aces, 16 digs and four stuff blocks while Hsu added 25 kills, four aces and 18 digs.
Josiah Mooy of Surrey and Abbotsford’s Jonah Swanson and Bryson Marazzi were the defensive stars for the champions.
Mooy was dominant at the net with 14 kills and 15 stuff blocks in the middle.
Swanson was spectacular with a serve receive average of 2.14 on 28 attempts while adding 22 digs.
Marrazi had 11 digs in a specialized defensive role, none more amazing than the two he stabbed off of Victoria’s top outside hitter during the last six rallies of the gold medal match. Both digs led to critical points for Fraser Valley and ultimately helped seal the national title.
The local boys end their season with a record of 39–12, with only one of the 12 losses coming against their own age group.
The other 11 losses were all against U-15 and U-16 squads.
The boys are coached by head coach Duncan Harrison of Chilliwack, assisted by Ryan Friesen, Tyler Koslowsky and Brad Kufske (Abbotsford) and Dan Jansen van Doorn(Langley).